Penny Pinching, Government Style


My colleague Gregg Carlstrom already highlighted the budget cuts that the White House said will lead to $17 billion in savings in 2010. But I wanted to highlight a few items tucked into that figure that represent savings that came not from cuts, but from better contract management.

Among the items dubbed “other savings” in the White House’s “Terminations, Reductions and Savings” report released today:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency’s consolidation of 22 information technology contracts for desktop support saved the agency $2 million. The new, single contract centralized help desk support, provided more energy efficient equipment and improved security.
  • The Education Department achieved $8 million in savings last year by reducing the numbers of computers and printers it leases. Computers were reduced to 1,400, or about one per user from an average of 1.5 per user. More significantly, Education implemented a new network printer strategy that reduces the number of printers from 5,000 to 1,300, serving 10 people per printer and saving ink and paper. Going forward these efforts will save Education 7 percent to 10 percent annually on its contractor-owned and operated computer network. 
  • The Homeland Security Department will save up to $59 million annually over the next five years through consolidated purchasing of office supplies and computer software, which leverages the departments buying power to obtain bulk purchasing discounts.
  • The State Department will also save 7 percent to 10 percent on office supplies, furniture, medical supplies, cell phones, personal digital assistants and other commodities by consolidating purchases under one vendor to take advantage of volume discounts. The White House report did not an exact dollar amount for the department’s savings.

Relatively speaking, these savings are small. But as Benjamin Franklin once said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”


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